Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Yes, I’m going through a “thing” with alliterating headlines.  Just a quick note though that the summer edition of STAR*LINE, the journal of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, has just been published in PDF with the print edition to be ready in the near future.  My pig, as it were, in this poetry poke is “What She Learned” (cf. also July 7), a thrilling account of vampirism and education, nestled at the bottom of page 22.  The issue number is 41.3 with more to be reported here, including most likely a cover picture, when the mailed copy arrives, while more information on STAR*LINE and the SFPA can be obtained by pressing here.

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The poetic cup runneth full this Saturday with proofs received from not one, but two upcoming publications.  The first in order of fulfillment, that is to say reading the proof sheet and sending it back with minor corrections, was from our fast-moving recent friend ALTERNATE THEOLOGY (ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES?), cf. July 1 and 2.  Either title seems to exist depending on the page you go to, but to the chase, my part is the poem called “Tit for Tat,” a “little Willie” in which our naughty lad finds the afterlife not as had been advertised.  The poem itself has been published before, originally in an anthology called GHOSTS:  REVENGE (James Ward Kirk Publications, 2015), but the subject seems one worth repeating and, with one or two minor editorial changes, has been returned.

Then a PDF for the Summer issue of STAR*LINE was perused, with my entry in this one a new poem, “What She Learned,” one of five accepted last February and four of which have already appeared in the current Spring issue (see May 16, April 11, et al.).  Things thus moving fast all around, within the hour that proof was returned as well to editor Vince Gotera with other information requested and a note that no changes were needed.

Such is the wending way of the interwebs, this comes to us from Bob Brown and the B CUBED PRESS PROJECT PAGE, courtesy of Elizabeth Eve King via the DIGITAL FICTION PUBLISHING LEAGUE, all on FACEBOOK.  Got that straight?  Or, re. yesterday’s posting (and ain’t it amazing how sometimes the news just doesn’t stop coming, other times — e.g., much of the last half of June — the gaps between entries just lengthen and lengthen. . 35728734_397781044040327_1240802746005716992_n. .), it looks like B Cubed Press’s ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES lineup is already filled up tight.  Or, to give Editor Bob Brown the floor:

Here is the ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGY line up.  There are two additional stories in reserve, depending on final size of edited works.  69 K words from some great writers:  Author Title

Phillip Hall Devine Justice
Lillian Csernica Righteous Spirits
Tom Barlow The Forsaken Wall
Anton Cancre Extinction Level Non-Conjunction Event
Louise Milton Ways of Knowing
Larry Hodges An American Christian at the Pearly Gates
James Norris Izzy Tells No Lies
Kara Race-Moore First
Melvin Sims The Good Mexican
Paula Hammond Last Words
Heather Truett Counting Sunrises
Colin Patrick
Ennen The Audit
Irene Radford Forgiveness
Joe Cook Temple Tantrum
Liam Hogan Liliths Daughter
Mike Resnick The Pale Thin God
E. E. King The Faithless Andgel
David Brin So you Want to Make Gods.
Jim Wright Foreword
Joanna Hoyt Whose Good News
Debora Reinert Don’t Get the Bible Wet
Marilyn Holt Everlasting Due
David Gerrold Christian Nation
Jill Zeller Angelica
C. A. Chessse Ruby Ann’s Advise Column
Rebecca
McFarland
Kyle Prayer
James Dorr Tit for Tat
Charles
Walbridge The Lost Gospel Writers
Gwyndyn T.
Alexander A Conservative Prayer
Gwyndyn T.
Alexander A liberal Prayer
Jane Yolen Nature Does not always know
Jane Yolen St. Patrick 1, Snakes Nil
Joyce Frohn Were You Good Stewards?
Meg Bee Mary, are you there.
Jane Yolen A Parable About the 8th Day
Jane Yolen Believing

Great stories all, many stories, just as good didn’t fit.  Picked up two of them for ALTERNATIVE APOCALYPSES for next year.

And there you have it.

So went the call:  This anthology will focus on a re-mastering of core biblical themes that will help justify, or perhaps even expose, modern evangelical theology.  This is an unabashedly critical look at the often hypocritical deviation of the religious right from their biblical and moral base.  This will be a disturbing read for some.  But for which was added, [h]umor and good will are key. A sharp wit and a sharper pen is the objective. We’re taking fiction, poems, and essays.  The book in question, B Cubed Press’s proposed ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES:  PARABLES FOR A MODERN AGE.

Ah now, thought I, this sounds like a job for “Little Willie,” the late Victorian-styled urchin whose causing or succumbing to disaster oft leads to either narrator indifference or some kind of highly inappropriate moral.  A case in point a poem, “Tit for Tat,” originally published in GHOSTS:  REVENGE by James Ward Kirk Publications in 2015 (cf. February 16 of that year; also on “Little Willies” as a sub-genre, February 6 2012), in which a preacher’s predictions of hellfire fall somewhat short, and which seemed to me a possible fit — but only, that is, if Editors Bob Brown and Irene Radford could be tempted to take a reprint.

Well, you probably know where this is going.  Unabashed (ah, now), I sent it on in with a note explaining its reprint status.  Then last night the report arrived from Bob Brown:  “Tit for Tat” was in!  With it was some info about forms of payment, for which I emailed back my acceptance as well as saying I’d look forward to further information, which to be sure will be shared here as well.

Then one other note.  While it is possible ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES is filled by now, technically submissions are still open until July 15, for information on which one may press here.  But be warned as well, as stated in the original guidelines as I received them:  This is not for the Faint of Heart.

A conversation with Robert Weide, filmmaker*, biographer and personal friend of Kurt Vonnegut will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at IU Cinema, 1213 E. Seventh St.  For more than 30 years, Weide has been working to create a definitive documentary covering Vonnegut’s life and work. He will give a sneak preview of several extended clips of the work in progress and discuss his work on the film.  (From the “Events” section of the local newspaper.)

So I, a Vonnegut fan, a writer myself, and one interested in the arts — and creation of art — in general, made sure to be there last night. In fact, I even prepared myself by making a point to read the preface (by editor and compiler Peter Reed) and Vonnegut’s own introduction to 1999’s BAGOMBO SNUFF BOX, of previously uncollected short fiction, which describe the period in which these works were written, the 1950s and early ’60s where one could earn $3000 for a short story from magazines like COSMOPOLITAN or THE SATURDAY EVENING POST; the rise of TV that replaced these magazines to a large part, bringing a time where one had to write a whole novel to earn the same amount as an advance.  But Vonnegut’s early novels never sold that well until, including a deal of luck, his masterpiece SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE with its anti-war sentiment hit the market at just the right time to become a best seller.  And so I was able to anticipate some of what was to come, as described in the Indiana University Cinema’s blurb:  This special event is a conversation with filmmaker, biographer, and Kurt Vonnegut’s personal friend, Robert Weide, incorporating extended clips from a work-in-progress version of his long-awaited film, KURT VONNEGUT:  UNSTUCK IN TIME.

More than 11 years after his death, Kurt Vonnegut — who was born and raised in Indianapolis — remains one of the most popular literary figures of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Readers from one generation to the next, the world over, continue to find their lives transformed by his comic and cosmic insights, on display in such bestselling books as CAT’S CRADLE, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, MOTHER NIGHT, GOD BLESS YOU MR. ROSEWATER, and on and on.  Amazingly, all of Vonnegut’s works remain in print, and his popularity shows no sign of waning. Yet to-date, there has been no definitive film documentary covering his extraordinary life and work.  For over 30 years, film and TV producer, director, and personal friend, Robert Weide, has been working to correct that oversight.  He will be giving a sneak preview of several extended clips from the work-in-progress, as he discusses his 36-year odyssey to complete the film.

The event is presented as part of Granfalloon**: A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence, an initiative of the Arts & Humanities Council of Indiana University.

And so it goes, for me, as writer, an enlightening and a humbling experience.  Yes, luck played a part in Vonnegut’s success, both good and bad, plus some horrendous life experiences, but I’d not realized the amount of hard work, and number of false starts that went into SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE until he got it “right.”  Or that success did not go well with him in certain ways, though it did in others, including a final bit of luck in his reluctant 2005 publication of A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY, a collection of essays that became an instant best seller, two years before his 2007 death.

But one more surprise too, while the blurb spoke of film clips, Robert Weide announced that he couldn’t decide, ultimately, which ones to show, so instead we we got to see the entire two-hour film, in its present not-quite-completed condition, followed in turn by a Q and A session.  A little bit rough, but whenever the final version comes out, I’ll recommend it!
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*Among other things screenwriter and co-producer of the film version of Vonnegut’s MOTHER NIGHT.

**(Wikipedia)  A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel CAT’S CRADLE), is defined as a “false karass”. That is, it is a group of people who affect a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is meaningless.  Charles J. Shields’s 2011 AND SO IT GOES:  KURT VONNEGUT:  A LIFE  quotes the novelist, who wrote that a “granfalloon is a proud and meaningless collection of human beings. . .”  That biography also cites Hoosiers as “one of [Vonnegut’s] favorite examples” of what the term refers to.  Other events include displays at the Lilly Rare Book Library, lectures both there and at City Hall, a stage reading of the musical adaptation of GOD BLESS YOU MR. ROSEWATER, and several concerts.

Whoever thinks that the countryside is calm and peaceful is mistaken.  In it we find especially agitated animals, a Fox that thinks it’s a chicken, a Rabbit that acts like a stork, and a Duck who wants to replace Father Christmas.  If you want to take a vacation, keep driving past this place.  So says IMDb and the place is France, or at least in the 2017 cartoon, based in turn on a series of Franch graphic novels, LE GRAND MÉCHANT RENARD ET AUTRES CONTES in a U.S. sneak preview this afternoon at the Indiana University Cinema.  And the fox (le renard) no relation to those we met in the comments in the post just below (April 24), the would-be harassers of beleagured cat Arlo, but funny and just a little bit scary (violent, at least, enough to for one father to have to leave with his upset child) as he attempts, under the tutelage of the big bad wolf, to steal if not chickens, three freshly laid eggs which, when they hatch, might provide them both lunch.  The only trouble, when they do hatch, the first thing the chicks see being the fox they immediately bond with him as their “mother” — and hence, of course, he bonds back.

So which are they, prey or predators, foxes or chickens, in what unfolds as an examination of identity and the meaning of family (restored to the farmyard, the chicks get in trouble in school, e.g., for trying to bite their fellow pupils)?  Combine with this two other tales, “Baby Delivery” and “The Perfect Christmas,” under the frame of the “Honeysuckle Farm Players” (of whom our fox is a principal actor) presenting a play for our enjoyment — in French, to be sure, but with English subtitles.  Its distribution in the U.S. has been delayed for a month or two, however, according to the IU Cinema docent, to the point where they almost didn’t want us to see it this early, but it isn’t silly (despite its premises) and it is funny as well as in some places just a bit touching, a lovely Saturday matinee should you get a chance when the time comes to see it.

Ah, back to the routine of the writing life, or . . . maybe not quite so routine in this instance.  One may recall that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s magazine STAR*LINE had accepted five poems from me last month (see February 25), to be spaced out over the coming year’s issues.  Today, wasting no time, the proof sheets for the coming Spring issue arrived with four (count ’em) poems of the five included!  A trifecta plus one, or, how’s that for dominating an issue?  (Well, given the poems are all very short, perhaps not exactly domination, but still. . . .).

So the poems are “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “Oh No She Didn’t?'” “From the Zombie Hunters Field Guide:  Tracking the Zombie,” and “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating:  Taking Your Date Home,” leaving the longest of the original five (by a whopping one line) to stand alone in a future issue.  I like the choices and the order — scarcely ten pages of the coming STAR*LINE can be read without coming across my name!  But more to the point, except for one minor note, all in the issue looked fine to me and so it went back this afternoon.

Quoting the blurb:  Third Flatiron’s new speculative fiction anthology, MONSTROSITIES, contains 20 short stories about things that are disturbingly large or outrageous.  A flash humor section, “Grins and Gurgles,” is also featured.

An international group of new and established contributors to “Monstrosites” makes this an original and varied collection that is sure to please fans of science fiction/fantasy, humor, and horror.  Writers include Keyan Bowes, Larry Hodges, Carl R. Jennings, Mark Pantoja, Ray Daley, Brian Trent, James Dorr, Liam Hogan, Salinda Tyson, Jennifer R. Povey, Ville Merilainen, Sita C. Romero, Martin M. Clark, Sharon Diane King, Julia August, Robert Bagnall, Barry Charman, Russell Hemmell, and Joseph Sidari.  With a special reprint from Edward Bryant.  Edited by Juliana Rew.

Yes, MONSTROSITIES is out on schedule including my story, “Got Them Wash Day Blues” (cf. February 24; December 28 2017), in Kindle format.  A print edition should follow as well in about a week, but for now for stories of things more enormous than they ought to be — including my own of laundry gone wild — one may check what Amazon has to offer by pressing here.

Five funny things, actually.  Lately my poetry has tended to ultra short, epigrammatic pieces, hopefully with a small punch or a laugh.  The one I had in the fall STAR*LINE, for instance, “Wet Work” (see December 2, et al.), is an example.  So it was that I sent five more to STAR*LINE in mid-December, the last of which in fact, I noted, was sort of a commentary on “Wet Work,” though goofier, maybe.  But to the point, the email came back yesterday from Editor Vince Gotera:  All five were accepted!  They’ll come out over the course of the rest of the volume year.  Probably one or two at a time.  So despite rainy, gloomy weather outside, Saturday ended up being a great day (I also finished a story that afternoon, in itself reason enough to celebrate)!

The poems (watch for them!  They’ll likely come out in a different order) are titled “From the Zombie Hunter’s Field Guide:  Tracking the Zombie,” “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating:  Taking Your Date Home,” “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “What She Learned,” and (this the one based on “Wet Work”) “Oh No She Didn’t?”  While more on STAR*LINE and sponsor/publisher Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association can be found here.

For Kindle, that is, with a publication date listed as March 10 and, hopefully, a print edition to come later.  The book is MONSTROSITIES, Third Flatiron Publishing’s Spring anthology, on [t]hings that are just too big or that don’t scale.  Whether it’s the new shopping mall down the street, kaiju attacking Tokyo, flawed utopian ideas, the supposed ultimate weapon, or somebody who’s way too big for his britches. . . .  Well, you get the idea.  And my part in this one is a short story, “Got Them Washday Blues,” about a bad night at a local laundrette.  (And what’s a laundrette?  Well, read it to find out.)

So you probably know what a laundrette (also, “launderette”) is anyhow, or can figure it out, though the word’s more English English than American.  While as for MONSTROSITIES, more information can be found here.




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